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Report: U.S. consumer spending up in February, economy on ‘firmer footing’

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. — A report released Monday by the Commerce Department showed that consumer spending in the United States rose more than forecast in February as incomes climbed.

Bloomberg News estimated spending would advance 0.5%.

Purchases increased 0.7%, the most since October, after advancing 0.3% the prior month. Incomes increased 0.3%, less than the 0.4% projected.

The report also showed that the U.S. added jobs for the sixth consecutive month in February and the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since April 2009.

Retail sales climbed in February by the most in four months, boosted by a jump in auto purchases.

“The economic recovery is on a firmer footing,” Fed officials said.

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Delhaize U.S. stores earn Energy Star award

BY CSA STAFF

SALISBURY, N.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Food Lion Family, Bloom and Bottom Dollar Food with its 10th consecutive Energy Star award. The company was one of 46 organizations recognized in the sustained excellence category and among 111 overall 2011 ENERGY STAR award winners chosen from more than 20,000 partners in the ENERGY STAR program.

"We are honored to receive this Energy Star Sustained Excellence award and are committed to being strong corporate citizens in the communities in which we operate," said Kyle Mitchell, VP store development for Delhaize America South. "Food Lion Family, Bloom and Bottom Dollar Food remain dedicated to environmental stewardship and are proud to continue to lead the way with energy conservation initiatives."

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Private-label implementation to eat up 50% of food share

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — The share of private-label brands and products will double to 50% by 2025, thanks to a continued emphasis made by retailers.

In a new report released by Rabobank’s Food and Agribusiness Research division, author Sebastiaan Schreijen noted that national brands and smaller, secondary brands (referred to as "A" and "B" brands, respectively) will prompt an intense price competition and therefore will cause the private-label market to become chock-full of higher-quality "B"-brand products at lower prices.

Additionally, Schreijen said, U.S. retailers only have hit the tip of the private-label iceberg; continued industry consolidation will be fueled by such initiatives as private-label implementation, as well as scale in logistics, procurement, marketing and store opening strategies, since a larger operating scale provides more opportunities to launch private labels, he said.

Many U.S. retailers already have taken note of this. Both CVS and Walgreens have entered the private-label business. CVS continues to boost its private-label portfolio with the official unveiling of its Just the Basics line — announced at the company’s analyst meeting in October 2010 — while Walgreens highlighted its private-label line last month with an ad campaign and a new beer, sold under the name Big Flats 1901.

What’s more, U.S. consumers have weathered a tough economy by opting to purchase private-label products. Many also have continued their recession-proof purchases as the economy has recovered, and even recommend such products to others.

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